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Conversion of chicken muscle to meat and factors affecting chicken meat quality: a review

Polycarpe Ulbad Tougan, Mahamadou Dahouda, Chakirath Folakè Arikè Salifou, Serge Gbênagnon Ahounou Ahounou, Marc T. Kpodekon, Guy Apollinaire Mensah, André Thewis, Issaka Youssao Abdou Karim

Department of Animal Production and Health, Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 2009, Cotonou, Republic of Benin

Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agronomic Science, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526, Republic of Benin

Agricultural Research Center of Agonkanmey, National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin, 01 BP 884, Cotonou 01,Republic of Benin

Animal Sciences Unit, Gembloux Agro Bio Tech, University of Liege, Passage des Déportés, 2, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium


Chicken meat results from overall biochemical and mechanical changes of the muscles after slaughtering process. The transformation of muscle in meat is a control point in the determinism of meat quality. Several and complex factors can affect poultry meat quality properties. Therefore, genotype, age, sex, type of muscle, structure of muscle fiber, production system, feeding, feed and water withdrawal, transport, slaughter process, post mortem aging time promote a significant difference in parameters of technological, sensorial and nutritional quality of chicken meat. However, differences in meat quality exist between fast and slow growing chicken genotypes. Furthermore, older chickens present a lower ultimate pH, redder breast meat, higher shear force and drip loss, lower yield and more important intramuscular fat. At equivalent age, the male chickens are less fatty than the females, while crude protein content is higher in males than females. Production systems, such as traditional free range and improved farming, promote differences in color, texture, chemical composition and the fatty acid composition of meat, with the higher protein content, the lower fat content and favorable fatty acid profile reported from chicken of free range system. The motory activity of birds in free range results in tough texture and high cooking loss in the meat during heating (80-100°C). Diet composition affects the fatty acid composition and meat flavor. Higher breast meat redness was found in birds that were transported for a shortest distance or not transported than in those after a longer distance.


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